Rollout of smart meters continues at a snail's pace

Look on the bright side, they might never arrive

Looking back over a turbulent year, some things remained reassuringly constant. England lost the football, Julian Assange stayed vitamin D deprived, and Blighty's smart meter rollout continued at a snail's pace.

According to the latest government figures (PDF), there are now 4.9 million smart meters operating across homes and businesses in Great Britain, by both large and small energy suppliers.

That may sound like an impressive number, but it leaves the government just over three years to achieve its goal of 53 million smart meters by 2020.

In its last quarter report, the department for Business, Energy, & Industrial Strategy said 4.2 million smart meters were live.

So at the current rate of 700,000 per quarter, or 2.8 million per year, it should only take another 19 years to complete the programme.

That is, of course, leaving aside the concerns that the consumer benefits of the £11bn scheme appear to be negligible.

A recent report found that the savings could amount to just £11 per household in 2020.

Meanwhile, the national platform intended to automatically send meter readings to energy suppliers has been fraught with delays.

The Capita-run Data Communications Company has been subject to heavy criticism, having missed a series of deadlines. Who'd have thunk it from such a reliable outsourcer?

Plus ça change, eh. ®

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